Hague Service Convention—International Service of Process

Water Splash, Inc. v. Menon, No. 16-254

The Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters—to which the United States is a party—permits service of process from one member state to another without the use of diplomatic channels. Article 10 provides in pertinent part that the Convention “shall not interfere with … the freedom to send judicial documents, by postal channels, directly to persons abroad,” or with “the freedom … to effect service of judicial documents directly through the judicial officers, officials or other competent persons of the State of destination.” (Emphasis added.) The Texas Court of Appeals held that the term “send” in Article 10 does not include “service of process,” and that the petitioner had thus failed to effect proper service of process on the respondent in Canada using certified mail. The Texas Supreme Court declined to review that decision. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether the Convention authorizes international service of process by mail.